Less than one-third of African nations have vaccinated 10 percent of their population
Less than one-third of African nations have been able to reach a goal of fully vaccinating 10 percent of their population, the World Health Organization (WHO) reported on Thursday.
In contrast, WHO noted that close to “90% of high income-countries have met this target.”
Since the World Health Assembly established a worldwide goal in May to have all countries fully vaccinate at least 10 percent of their population by Sept. 30, only 15 of the Africa’s 54 nations have met the target. WHO noted that many of the nations that met the target have smaller populations and almost half are “small island developing states.”
Among the nations that met or exceeded the international target included Mauritius and Seychelles — both of which fully vaccinated over 60 percent of their residents, and Morocco at 48 percent. Several countries that have fully vaccinated over 20 percent of their citizens include Comoros, Tunisia and Cape Verde.
Speaking during the U.N. General Assembly earlier this month, African world leaders expressed their frustration at what one president described as “vaccine apartheid,” as some countries roll out booster shots while others have yet to give a first dose to a majority of residents.
They urged the international community to relax intellectual property rights to expand vaccine production in the developing world.
South African President Cyril Ramaphosa told the U.N. that it was “a great concern that the global community has not sustained the principles of solidarity and cooperation in securing equitable access to COVID-19 vaccines,” according to the Associated Press.
“It is an indictment on humanity that more than 82 percent of the world’s vaccine doses have been acquired by wealthy countries, while less than one percent has gone to low-income countries,” he added.
Richard Mihigo, immunization and vaccines development program coordinator for the WHO in Africa, blamed the lagging vaccine distribution on “opaque delivery plans.”
“The latest data shows modest gains but there is still a long way to go to reach the WHO target of fully vaccinating 40% of the population by the end of the year. Shipments are increasing but opaque delivery plans are still the number one nuisance that hold Africa back,” Mihigo said in a statement on Thursday.